Burress is said to have been carrying a gun that night in 2007 as protection against a crew of stickup kids known as the Street Family from around the Brevoort Houses in Brooklyn who started out robbing rap stars and moved on to professional athletes outside Manhattan nightclubs.
He says he will use his celebrity status to dissuade young people from seeking street stardom with the power of a gun. His time behind bars does not seem to have constituted much of a deterrent. Nor does anything else the law can muster.
The cops make thousands of arrests a year and too many kids just keep carrying guns. So what if even celebrities got prison time, if Plaxico, Lil Wayne and Ja Rule all got hit with the maximum?
A young man who seems bound for a long experience that nobody wants to experience is 19-year-old Iloune Driver. He was arrested Monday in the shooting of five people on the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, last week.
One of the five died, a 16-year-old manifestly innocent bystander from East Harlem named Tysha Jones.
We should all be haunted by the photo that shows her splashing happily in the sea shortly before she joined the unending list of young innocents felled by bullets in this city.
Others on that list include Tysha's good friend Cheyenne Baez, age 17, killed by a stray round in October.
The most recent innocent teen to be shot was 15-year-old Yvette Marie Torres, who strode up to two young men who were firing into the air on Saturday night.
"Why you shooting?" she asked.
One of them responded by shooting her in the head. She was still alive Monday and needed all our prayers.
I don't know what impact Burress can have. I do know we should welcome the effort. He is quietly sincere and even seems to know that this is one game where even the smallest gain is a victory.
"I know I won't be able to save everybody, but if I could just help a child ...," he said.
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